| Orbital characteristics
<tr> <td align="center" colspan="2"> Epoch J2000</td></tr><tr><th>Aphelion distance:</th> <td>2.947 AU</td></tr><tr><th>Perihelion distance:</th> <td>2.496 AU</td></tr><tr><th>Semi-major axis:</th> <td>2.722 AU</td></tr><tr><th>Eccentricity:</th> <td>0.083</td></tr><tr><th>Inclination:</th> <td>6.61°</td></tr>
Eugenia was discovered in 1857 by Hermann Goldschmidt. It was named after Empress Eugenia di Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, and was the first asteroid to be named after a real person, rather than a figure from classical legend (although there had been controversy about whether 12 Victoria was really named for the mythological figure or for Queen Victoria).
Eugenia is a large asteroid, with a diameter of 214 km. It is an F-type asteroid, which means that it is very dark in colouring (darker than soot) with a carbonaceous composition. Like Mathilde, its density appears to be unusually low, indicating that it may be a loosely-packed rubble pile, not a monolithic object.
In 1998, astronomers at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, discovered a small moon orbiting Eugenia. This was the first time an asteroidal moon had been discovered by a ground-based telescope. Eugenia's moon has been named (45) Eugenia I Petit-Prince, after Empress Eugenia's son, the Prince Imperial. The moon is much smaller than Eugenia, about 13 km in diameter, and takes five days to complete an orbit around it.
- Johnston Archive data
- Astronomical Picture of Day 14 October 1999
- SwRI Press Release
- Orbit of Petit-Prince, companion of Eugenia
- IAUC 8177
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For a complete listing, see: List of asteroids. See also Pronunciation of asteroid names and Meanings of asteroid names.